Canopy Riveting and Rear Window Installation

We began riveting together the forward canopy assembly. Lots and lots of rivets most of which needed to be bucked rather than squeezed.

Also put the rear window in place for measurement and cutting. It turns out that the only cutting required was the two notches for the roll bar brace brackets. The Dremel tool worked well for the cuts. I did realize that I will have to disassemble some of the canopy latch mechanism to get to two rivets that need to be squeezed. My fault because I did the latch mechanism out of order. Probably 1 hour of extra work. BTW, cutting the plexiglass is messy and requires wearing a mask.

10 hours (2 people x 5 hours each).

I cut downward with the wheel but I found that actually moving back and forth was a better method. After cutting, I used 220 grit sand paper to round the corners to remove stress points.
This is the rear canopy assembly just sitting in place. There are two rivets that I can’t install because I installed the latching mechanism.
This is the back window clamped in place. As with other parts of the kit, it fit very well without any significant cutting. Our plan is to use Sikaflex to attach the window rather than rivets and screws.
The forward canopy just sitting where it will eventually go. It hinges on the front.
My Dad (who turns 91 in about a month) helping me with the canopy top skin.

Still More Canopy Work

A few days ago when I was assembling the front canopy assembly, I puzzled over one particular drawing. I couldn’t determine confidently whether the canopy skin went on the outside of the stiffener or the inside. Based on the drawing at the beginning of section 38, I decided the stiffener went on the outside. I did several steps and things lined up nicely so I assumed I had it correct. Well, I didn’t.

Today, I got to a step that had me countersink the OUTSIDE of the stiffener to accept the dimpled skin. Now it was clear that the stiffener went inside of the skin. It seems obvious now, but when I did it a few days ago I am pretty sure I had it right. No damage done and only a few minutes to “fix” the issue.

I then spent a fair amount of time looking forward a few pages in the instructions. Geez, this canopy has a lot of steps! I think Jon’s advice to work in small increments of perhaps an hour in the evening makes a lot of sense. It is easy to feel overwelmed if you are working for 8 hours at a time.

Meanwhile, Steinair seems to be on schedule to finish the panel work by the end of April. Van’s shipped a few more parts that were back ordered in the finish kit. I cleaned the aircraft factory (a little) in an attempt to not work on top of my instructions (which required me to continuously move my work pieces every time I needed to refer to the directions).

Three hours.

Canopy Continued

I spent a significant amount of time assembling the canopy side rails. Lots of clecos to install, holes to final drill or match drill. As I have commented in the past, the quality of Van’s parts is impressive. Mostly a perfect fit. I will have to pause on the canopy now because two of the key parts I need are back ordered (C-1405-L and C-1405-R). I think they should arrive in the next few days since Van’s told me on a recent call that they had received more of these in stock.

Error of the day: I countersunk a hole next to the one I was supposed to countersink. Kind of dumb since I marked each hole I was supposed to do with a sharpie before starting. Luckily, the error will be hidden permanently by another piece that will be riveted over the offending area.

Five hours.

The Canopy Construction Begins

The canopy has a surprising number of parts. After spending a fair amount of time cutting, deburring and Alodining lots and lots of parts, I began the actual construction today.

The good news is that the parts have been going together relatively easily. The pre-drilled holes by Van’s have been spot on.

My riveting has gone from OK, to reasonably good. Once I got the feel of the rivet gun trigger, I mostly have had very good rivets. Well OK, I have put smiles into a couple of them, but luckily they will be in places where no one can see them.

Six hours.

As you will see in a future post, I have the stiffener wrong in this picture. It goes inside of the top skin.